Posts Tagged ‘wargame’

The Flare Path: In The Denmark Strait

The trick of using high prices to imply high quality goes back a very long way in digital wargame publishing. Computer Bismarck, the title that launched the genre in January 1980, was advertised as “the $2160 wargame” ($60 for the software, $2100 for the Apple II Plus necessary to run it). SSI proudly proclaimed their creation was “worth every cent” of this princely sum. Whether you ended up agreeing with them depended largely on how much you valued novelties like artificial opposition and effortless fog of war, and how ready you were to overlook design quirks like an onerous interface, an absence of alternative scenarios, and a monstrously magenta North Atlantic. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: A Frank Hexchange

The work of helmet restorers Alexander & Sons

Yesterday morning, quite by chance, I found myself sharing a tuk-tuk with one of my personal heroes. The six sides and rotational/reflection symmetries, the 120 degree internal angles, the faint whiff of blood and cordite… I recognised Theo Hexagon, aka ‘The Hex’, the moment he hopped aboard. By the time we hit our first traffic-jam, I’d introduced myself, whipped out a voice recorder and commenced an impromptu interview. A transcript of that all-too-brief exchange follows. If you’ve ever waged war on a battlefield draped with outsized chicken wire, the 1200-or-so words beyond the break should prove interesting.

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Heavily Engaged: On Wargaming, Guilt And Remembrance

Every Sunday, we reach deep into Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s 141-year history to pull out one of the best moments from the archive. This week, Tim Stone’s piece on grognard guilt, originally published in 2011.

No battle reportage this week. Rather than confuse you with another tale of how Easy Company went east then north a bit then left a bit while Baker Company went west then south then right a bit, I thought I’d try to get to the bottom of a feeling that has gnawed at the edges of my wargaming pleasure for the best part of 30 years. That feeling could be described as unease, or perhaps, disquiet. At a stretch you might even call it guilt.

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The Flare Path: Ultimate General Knowledge

“My favourite game of 2016? Unquestionably, Ultimate General: Austerlitz. Game-Labs spectacular turnless wargame series has been edging towards Greatness for a couple of years now, and finally took the VL in September. The flaws that tarnished the original release (Ultimate General: Gettysburg) are now distant memories. It’s hard to believe I once grumbled about annoying cannon combat, glaring GUI gaps, and an unexpected lack of challenge.”

The Flare Path, January 6, 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm

Like Autumn, the forest alchemist, I’ve spent this week splashing hillsides with gold and crimson. In woods, fields and towns the length of West Germany I’ve been tirelessly turning earthy greens into vibrant reds and yellows. Hundreds of hurrying APCs, hastily dug-in MBTs, and hovering helo gunships have flared like frost-startled beech trees as I’ve fought to resist Red Storm’s irresistible red storm. It’s years since I witnessed such wholesale destruction in a tactical wargame, and years since I was so impressed by the rules and mechanisms underpinning hexagonal aggro.

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Wot I Think: Command: Modern Air Naval Operations

ACRONYM GLOSSARY (Please memorise before proceeding)

ASW – Anti Submarine Warfare. AEW – Airborne Early Warning. SEAD – Suppression of Enemy Air Defences. DICASS – Directional Command Active Sonobuoy System. SSN – Nuclear-powered submarine. ITWPWT – Innocent Trawler in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time. CMANOCommand: Modern Air Naval OperationsCHR – Compendious Harpoon Replacement. ESS  Essentially Ship-Shape. DSDDB – Despite Shoal of Disappointing Deficiencies and Bugs. ADPP – And Divisive Price Point. RRDAII – Refreshingly Responsive Devs Already Implementing Improvements. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Fancy A Viennese Whirl?

Check mirror. Indicate. Pull out. Nod at passing tram driver. Coast towards red traffic light. Dab brakes. Slide open side window. Feel cool night air on skin. Smell lilacs. Remember lilac bush that grew beside the war memorial at Pastinakweg. Picture Kathrin. Remember that holiday at Lake Balaton in ’93. Grin. Accelerate. Accelerate some more. Curse after clipping kerb at Oberfeld. Sound horn at cheeky bus lane-blocking Golf. Nose into heavy traffic near Kagraner Platz. Contemplate trail of tail lights twinkling like a flare path on Breitenleer Strasse. Read the rest of this entry »